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Friday, October 21, 2005

New permanent World War II exhibit at UNCP museum

“Beyond the Call: Robesonians in World War II,” a new permanent exhibit in the museum of the Native American Resource Center, is now on display at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Jesse Oxendine

Jesse Oxendine

The exhibit features photographs, artifacts, weapons, memorabilia and a list of the sons and daughters of Robeson County who died in the war. They have been called “the greatest generation.”

“This exhibit is designed to honor the Robesonians who bravely fought for this country,” said Dr. Stan Knick, curator of the museum. “We would like to thank Mr. Jesse E. Oxendine for assisting us in putting the exhibit together.”

A Charlotte, N.C. resident and Pembroke native, Jesse Oxendine is a World War II veteran and served with a glider unit of the 82nd Airborne. He is pleased with the exhibit.

Jesse Oxendine in Germany

Jesse Oxendine in Germany

“I hope people who lost a relative in the war and others will come by Old Main to see it,” Oxendine said. “I knew a lot of those boys, and a lot of them went to school in Old Main, so I thought that the museum would be an appropriate place for it.”

In all, 164 Robesonians made the ultimate sacrifice during the war.

“Wade Lowry was the first boy I knew who died,” Oxendine said. “When he died at Midway, the war really hit home for me.”

Lowry and Marvin Chavis are on the memorial roll call.

“I saw Marvin off at the bus station,” Oxendine said. “That was the last time I saw him.”

Uniform

World War II Uniform

The living memories of World War II veterans are dying with a generation of men and women, and Oxendine said a list of war dead was an important memorial. But the list was not easy to assemble.

“I called the VFW and several other places, but nobody had the list,” he said. “I remembered that The Robesonian (newspaper) published a list some years ago, and I had saved it.”

Oxendine has plans for the future of an evolving showcase.

“We hope to rotate the display every four-to-six months,” he said. “I have Vincent Lowry’s jumpsuit. He was a friend of mine who jumped into Normandy with the 82nd. Tom Oxendine, who was a Navy pilot, promised to loan us one of his uniforms.”

Jesse Oxendine continues to seek information and memorabilia for the exhibit, and he invites other veterans and their families to call him at 704.537.4912.

For more information about the Native American Resource Center, please call 910.521.6282 or email becky.goins@uncp.edu.

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